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Image library is down right now.

This gives me a chance to rant for just a moment.

I've been hosting photowalks here in Waco for almost a year now. These have been wonderful experiences not just for the people I get to interact with on the walks, but also for the people I get to talk to who may never show up for one. Whenever I'm out in public with my camera, I'm usually stopped by one or two people who express an interest in photography. I am always more than happy to talk to them and share in the joy. I also always try to direct the conversation toward the Heart Of Texas Photographic Society (HOTps) and our monthly events. Invariably, that is followed by a response like, "Wow! Where can you possibly go around here to shoot?"

I have also had the chance to interact with other photographers around the world through social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and the like. Many of those photographers often express the same sentiment about their own areas, some of whom I know live in wonderfully photogenic locales.

I truly believe that, in order to call yourself a photographer, or really even an enthusiast, you should set yourself a small project in which you photograph your own hometown. We all become jaded with where we live. Everything becomes so ordinary and rote that we no longer see our homes with the kind of vision that photographers need to cultivate. Trust me, there is beauty and opportunity all around you. You just have to refresh your outlook.

Many enthusiast photographers and even a bunch of pros wait to do "real" photography until after they leave home. Some call themselves travel photographers, some just lay it out and say they don't get inspired until they leave. Have you ever thought that there are photographers that are uninspired even in these exotic locations that are being visited? You may think that Bombay, India or Cork, Ireland or Sao Paolo, Brazil or Abuja, Nigeria are wonderfully photogenic cities, but I'm sure there are thousands of other photographers that have grown weary of them and think that Waco, TX or Gary, IN or Pueblo, CO are shockingly photogenic.

As photographers, we constantly need to be able to refresh our views on everything. The most photogenic subjects in the world have become rote by now. How many times have your seen the same image, taken over and over again, of things like the Eiffel Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge? Our challenge as photographers is to make something new and exciting out of it. Get a new perspective on an overwrought subject. Same goes for your hometown. You may see the same thing over and over again, day in and day out, but your challenge is to make something new out of it.

Instead of looking around town and thinking, "Well, if I go down Franklin Ave., turn left onto 8th St., and right onto Austin Ave. I can get there in 10 minutes," you have to act like a visitor and see those streets as you drive by. In fact, one of the best suggestions I can give you is to (re)visit your local tourism office. Find out what sights visitors are being directed to. I, for one, never get a chance to see these places when I live in the area. It takes something different to get me to check out the local sights. Pretend your are new and exploring your town. I have been to places around Waco that I never even thought to visit just because I need to find locations to bring HOTps for photoshoots. We have several native Wacoans (and regionals) in the group who tell me the same thing. We also have one new transplant who is using the group to work on his photography as well as explore his new home.

So go out there and step up to the challenge. If you aren't good at personal responsibility without deadlines, talk to other photographers in your area and set a date when you can share your images. Or, better yet, set a date to meet and explore together. I know I can see things better when someone else is around to help inspire me.

For once, just step back, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and look again. You'll be surprised at what you see.

Thanks for indulging me.


Oh, and by the way, make sure your camera stays securely in your bag. Even just rolling out can be hazardous.


Scott Everett